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Belittling Christians

by Noah Lugeons

Sometimes people say, “Noah, you belittle Christians a lot.”

And I respond, “Yeah, I do my best.”

So no, I’ll be offering no apology for it here or anywhere else in the foreseeable future.  When people point out that I belittle Christians, I respond the same way that an Olympic sprinter would respond if somebody asked her why she was in such a hurry… After all, that’s kind of the point.

Now, there are those that would say that this is counterproductive.  They say that the caustic brand of atheism I subscribe to is antithetical to the goals of minimizing the role of religion in society.  They present a “circle-the-wagons” mentality that I might inspire if I’m too insulting.  They point out that the more attainable goals of keeping religion out of science class and the courtroom can be hamstrung by the more grandiose goal of stamping out organized religion altogether.

And what’s more, they might be right.  I still don’t care.

My goal as an atheist activist is to marginalize religion.  I work toward a world where anybody who believes in something without evidence is embarrassed to admit it in public.  I want reason by way of shame.

I think it’s a sad commentary on our culture that my unwavering belief that all truth-claims should be subjected to the same scrutiny puts me in the extreme wing of a minority.  That shouldn’t be a bold stance. It should be nearly unthinkable to take any other stance and that’s precisely what I seek.

To be fair, I’ll concede that it’s entirely possible to take that stance without belittling anyone.  A lot of skeptics do yeoman’s work by patiently walking sasquatch hunters, UFOlogists and homeopaths through the ladder of logic without a hint of condescension.  I admire that ability but I do not share it.

And of course, many skeptics are crass and dismissive of nonsense like sasquatch hunters, UFOs and homeopathy.  They don’t bother to spare anyone’s feelings and simply treat it like the demonstrable bullshit that it is.  In the skeptical movement the battle between “soft” and “hard” is a hell of a lot more muted than the one in the atheist movement, but it’s still there.  Some people just insist that the “kill-them-with-kindness” approach is the only valid one.

Many much wiser observers than me have pointed out that there probably isn’t one “valid” approach, so I’m not going to spend any time retreading that ground, but there is something I’d like to offer to the kindness camp.  Sure, it’s an anecdote and can thus be easily dismissed, but I think it’s illustrative of the justification behind the approach that I share with a number of other scathing atheists.

Arrogance is a powerful force.  Those of us who like to think or ourselves as intelligent don’t like to be told we’re stupid.  It’s the only insult that really gets under the skin of some people.  Now, when somebody says, “you disagree with me so you’re stupid” it’s meaningless, but if someone you respect intellectually lumps your beliefs in with a bunch of the other “stupid” ones, that has an impact.

I’m not saying there’s anyone out there that respects me intellectually, but there are a number of learned men and women in both the atheist and skeptical movements who sport intellects that are beyond reproach.  An intellectually arrogant person hearing that his beliefs are stupid from those people will have an effect.

Now sure, some people are arrogant enough to just toss off the insult and say, “what does that ivy-league professor know?”, but those people are all-but unreachable.  But for many if not most intellectually arrogant people, the root of the arrogance was real intelligence.  And there are plenty of intelligent, arrogant people out there that still believe in some really silly stuff.

Those people are vulnerable to the caustic attack.  I know because that’s how I arrived here.  I got to atheism through simple observation and the correct application of logic, but I became a skeptic and (more importantly) a skeptical activist because somebody with an intellect I admire told me I was a dumb-ass.  And what’s more, he didn’t try to cater to my ego by telling me how okay it was to still believe this dumb-ass belief.

Now I know that the research shows that most people are far more inclined to listen to and consider your viewpoint if you’re non-confrontational and I recognize that, generally speaking, this is the optimum approach.  Hell, it’s the one I usually employ when I’m talking to someone in person.  But just because it’s the most widely applicable approach doesn’t mean it’s the only correct one.  A person like myself would never be swayed by it, as they would take the agreeable demeanor as a sign of intellectual uncertainty.  They would toss off anything you said that didn’t crack the armor of their intellectual arrogance and the only way to do that is to be caustic.

My mother told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything.  And a lot of people have told me the same thing since.  I get it.  I disagree.  I feel that it would be intellectually dishonest to say anything nice and it would be socially irresponsible to stay silent.

And if you disagree with my approach, that’s fine.  I strongly encourage you to get involved and run as far in the opposite direction as possible.  We need all the help we can get.  And I believe that we also need all the types of help we can get.

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  1. April 3, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    On your concluding statements: Those people who talk about saying nice things are usually the ones that have nothing nice to say about LGBTQ, evolution, and non-belief. Clearly if they can speak out and say ‘not nice’ things then it must be okay to return them the favor. By the way, telling someone they will burn in hell for eternity is a ‘not nice’ thing to say or think. Fuck ’em. Fuck the pope too.

  2. April 3, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    Remember that the christians are the ones who like to belittle non-christians all the time. Amazingly many christians are wondering why so many people hate christians.

    • Allelse2
      March 5, 2015 at 8:20 PM

      generalizations.

  3. April 8, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Okay. You are saying all this to say what? Can you keep it to a paragraph? Me and my honey went to an atheist website where thewy had so many questions for us they put that post in the bottomless pit. They really wanted their questions about the KJV Bible answered. Some of them left Church because of unanswered questions and they did not know how to look them up.

    • April 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Not sure what you’re asking, Chaplain. I’d like to offer a response, but I’m having trouble connecting all those sentences together. Are you asking if I have questions about the bible? Are you asking me question about the bible? Or are you asking me why many atheists have so many questions about the bible?

      • April 12, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        You did it a paragraph. Answer the questions and please be brief.

  4. April 12, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    See, “You did it a paragraph” is not a coherent thought, no matter how I take it. And I don’t know what questions you are talking about, so I can keep it damn brief. I don’t know what you’re asking. How’s that for brief?

    • April 14, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      I see why you an atheist. You don’t understand the questions even after you write them down in a paragrah. So it is with answers. You can’t understand questions or anwsers.

      • April 14, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Look, I’m sorry that you’re an idiot, but you can’t blame me for it. The fact that you think things like “You did it a paragraph” are real sentences that actually mean things is unfortunate. There are a number of good resources out there for you. Kindergarten, for example. I’ve asked you what you’re question was, you lacked the intelligence (or finger dexterity) to tell me. I even tried to be nice when I repeatedly pointed out that you failed to actually ask a question. If you want to ask a question, just ask it. If not, fuck off.

      • April 14, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        Okay.I will try it like this using your own words.
        Yes I am asking you if I have questions about the bible?
        Yes, I am asking you questions about the bible? You stae so much that I disagree with. Break it down point by point then I address each one. Don’t state too many.
        I am asking you why many atheists have so many questions about the bible? It is not your religion. Why do you take a special interest in it.

        And also, why do you feel you have to belittle us in a public forum?
        You are not the only one. The media is full of it. They have removed any words remotely Christian that we used to hear on TV and movies in my youth. I am 59 now. Check out Dennis the Menis and Gomer Pile. Well golly. Geez mister Wilson.

        Sorry I sound like an idiot sometimes. Thank you for asking me for clarity. I am try to get my thought processes together again after having a stroke. You should hear me talk, Ha, Ha. God has a sense of humor.

        It took 12 years to graduate from Bible College, I was an “A” student in online college as a communication major to end up sounding like the village idiot. And I thought President George Bush was village idiot for killing people to spread democracy!

        Is that better? This is my therapy.

      • April 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Alright, now that I have something to work with, I’ll be happy to address your question. But keep in mind that I’m not here to do your bidding and I’m not going to give you everything you’ve demanded. I am under no obligation to state anything point by point or to keep it brief or anything like that. In other words, I’m under no more obligation to justify my atheism to you than you are to justify your theism to me.

        As to why I choose to belittle your beliefs in a public forum, here’s my one paragraph answer:

        Religion requires one to believe things without tangible evidence and without critically examining those beliefs. To do so, one must reduce the premium on knowledge and this has an incredibly corrosive effect on society, including but not limited to violence, bigotry, sexism, child abuse, wanton ignorance, derailment of scientific advancement, psychological damage, moral lapses, needless guilt and outright stupidity. What’s more, there is no benefit to religion that cannot be provided by a secular substitute. Such an institution is in need of belittling, as are those who would condone and promote it.

  5. April 21, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    It is easy to blame all the problems of the world on religion. You haven’t provided any evidence that social problems exists only with religions. Okay, maybe they will prove the bombing in Boston was because of religion. Maybe people who use guns to kill are religious. To take an innocent thing like a gun to kill someone, well they must be religiously insane!

    You have encapsulated (I think you have) religion into one melting pot. I can’t speak to other religions but as far as Judaea-Christianity is concerned there is a plethora of documented history, witnessed of millions, documented of untold, of the works of God who says he is God and proved it.

    The books of the Bible are not in chronological order but you can get a KJV in that order. It is in that order so you can see the progressive revelation of God to us humans, and the prophecy of Jesus Christ from Genesis to the book of Revelation, over 10,000 years till His birth, and the prophecy until His return in the Revelation untold years from now and beyond. I would be foolish to say I understand the Bible completely. I don’t understand my being belittled about so much I will never understand in my lifetime.

    So many people did not believe He was God and scoffed, and mocked, and belittled Him till they killed that innocent man. Not being satisfied many are trying to kill Him again, afresh. They refuse to let anyone have a Savior. Why are you and others like that?

    Jesus was truly innocent not like me, not like you, not like anyone. He said don’t deliver them out of this world. We are spiritual and of the flesh being still subject to the flesh and at war with the flesh. Being both we know how the flesh is. Being of the flesh only they don’t know, will ever know the things of the Spirit of God, but God can chage all that. Take the one thief on the cross. Maybe he has an appointment to visit you at your appointed time of death and you won’t be able to promote Jesus as you belittled Jesus. You and I are that insignificant.

    So from the beginning Religion has been belittled, by unbelievers who laugh and blaspheme God as if they don’t suffer the consequences in this lifetime and the next. They may not even be aware of there sufferings. They have no idea what it means to be spiritual and they have the nerve to belittle religion?

    It is one thing to debate something that you know about. That is an in house debate. It is another thing to debate with someone who has no idea what they are talking about. You can with Christian apologetics to deaf ears maybe so they have no excuse. They heard and my have understood some of the parables of the Bible. The whole Bible is a parable. Understanding parables is a gift from God. Only then can you understand Him.

    • April 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      So you ask me to sum it up in a paragraph, but you get to spend 7 paragraphs basically saying “My religion is right because it’s says it’s right. Look! Right here in the bible! It says it’s right so it has to be! Just look!”

      I’m not here to debate you, you presupposing asshole. I’m here to belittle you. If you want to debate with someone, go find someone who gives a shit to debate with you. I’m here to counter a social ill and I could not possibly care less if you accept that it is a social ill. It’s asinine to simply write off the opinion of atheist with the “You just don’t understand Christianity” defense because I don’t need to. I know more about the bible than the vast majority of Christians, so what can a study of the bible teach me about Christians? If you want to know about a people, you study the people, not the book of fables they all pretend to think is the word of god but never read. And when you study the result of religion, what you find is a long list of social ills, murders, bombings, oppression, sexism, etc. It’s actually just a coincidence that most of that shit is also in the bible.

  6. April 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    “You just don’t understand Christianity” defense because I don’t need to. I know more about the bible than the vast majority of Christians, so what can a study of the bible teach me about Christians?”

    That was the rich young ruler’s defense. He had one question for the good teacher. Jesus replied okay sell everything you have, give it the poor so you will become poor like me, and follow me. The rich young ruler left with his head between his legs. He was sad because that was too much required of him to follow Jesus!!!!!!!!! He had the master teacher willing to teach him and he refused to be taught. He said he knew more than many Jewish/Hebrew people.

    How long was Peter under his teaching before God the Father revealed who Jesus is, years?

    Many disciples left Jesus teaching saying it is too hard of teaching like before the last supper.

    You can mock, belittle Jesus all you want. It really does not matter. You don’t understand. You belittle God not me.

    • April 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      So your argument is still “The bible is right because the bible says it’s right”.

      Forgive me, but that’s too stupid to rebut.

      • April 23, 2013 at 1:19 AM

        You are right because you are right and those you belittle are wrong.

        Do you believe the Evoluntionist.? Which do you agree if any of them There is now Neo-Darwinism and Darwinism. Neo-Darwinsim through out the baby with the baby water. They don’t believe man evolved from anything. Darwinst say it is a chimp or a gorilla or something that has thumbs. And they still can’t figure out where women came from.

      • April 23, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        I love to have testimonials like that one on this blog to reference when I’m talking about how stupid people can be when it comes to evolution. No, I’m not making it up. You’re really this devoid of fact. Please go smear your stupidity on somebody else. I’m done.

  7. Janet
    March 2, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    You belittle anyone who believes in god and wonder why people have a negative view on atheism.When someone uses criticisms negaitvely towards people, they are using emotionally abusive behaviors by trying to bring you down and make you feel shame & less of a person. Your heart seems cold and black, i feel sorry or you. God gives people light and if you refuse to see it that’s your choice. If atheists are firm in their non-belief, why do they feel the need to constantly belittle people of faith as “believing in fairy tales and myths?” Shouldn’t they just be smiling, knowing to themselves that the other person is deluded and will be shown they’re wrong eventually? I have yet to meet an atheist who refers to a believers faith in any other way but derogatory. Believe or not believe its your choice, that’s why God gives us free will. I am a believer. Telling me the basis of my faith is akin to something out of the work of Grimm or Aesop or dr seuess or walt disney is just as insulting as if I were to tell you that you were destined for hell for your lack of faith. Bunch of sensitive, insecure ya-hoos you atheists are….always trying to win people over to your side. You don’t believe in God? so what? I dont believe in unicorns, but you don’t see me bitching at people who do. The earth is where lucifer was cast down to, we are in his playground and your doing the devils work for him, I hope you know that.

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:00 PM

      It’s worth pointing out that telling you your faith is as stupid as believing in something from Walt Disney, insulting as you might find it, is also true. And I’d hope that if the majority of this country was trying to legislate based on the firm belief that unicorns existed, I’d like to think you’d stand up against that.

      If you’re insulted by honesty, it’s because you’re mired in bullshit.

      • janet
        March 3, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        That’s your OPINION that you think it’s stupid, not a FACT. Christians are good people, how dare we let that happen! Let the country legislate on honest, non-murders, non liars, non-stealing people!! Oh those bastards for being righteous, nice, caring, loving, good people which are what we stand for, what God stands for. But guess what our country isn’t acting this way now are they? The Elites and government are greedy, they lie to us and steal from us. When you take God out of things you’ll be left with evil and that my friend is a lot worse and scary then us Jesus followers. And for the record i don’t feel stupid at all, you just reinforce my beliefs more, but i think your being foolish to not even consider letting him into your heart. But I don’t care, I won’t bash you for it, because it’s your choice. Now give us Christians the same respect.

      • March 3, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Okay, you’re an idiot. I wish you’d warned me ahead of time so I could have dumbed down my point.

        Probably worth noting (or at the very least, you should know) Christians are FAR more likely to murder than atheists. They are more likely to commit almost all crimes. You’re not as moral as atheists by any sane measure. That being said, that has absolutely nothing to do with any point I made. But please, tell me again how your magic sky-fairy made leukemia and syphillis because he loves us so much.

      • March 3, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Okay, you’re an idiot. I wish you’d warned me ahead of time so I could have dumbed down my point.

        Probably worth noting (or at the very least, you should know) Christians are FAR more likely to murder than atheists. They are more likely to commit almost all crimes. You’re not as moral as atheists by any sane measure. That being said, that has absolutely nothing to do with any point I made. But please, tell me again how your magic sky-fairy made leukemia and syphillis because he loves us so much.

      • Allelse2
        March 5, 2015 at 8:24 PM

        Truth is subjective. when you resort to name calling, you’ve lost the argument” Watts.

  8. janet
    March 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    the Devil Wants God out of people’s hearts, out of schools, out of governments,.. you see there is good and evil in this world, that you can’t deny nor any science can pick apart. Which side are you on, well I choose God.

    • March 3, 2015 at 1:46 PM

      Of course, there being evil in the world makes perfect sense if you DON’T believe in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent parent figure that fashioned the world. If you do, then either he’s too weak to stop it (not omnipotent) or intentionally allows children to be raped and puppies to die of cancer (not omnibenevolent).

      Do yourself a favor, don’t bring up evil. It proves your god doesn’t exist.

  9. janet
    March 3, 2015 at 2:46 PM

    Whenever bad things happen in the world people want to blame God,, Again I will point out that God gives us free will. Therefore it is MAN that does the evil in this world, and commits the horrible crimes, not God. Blame man for it, blame the devil for it. God is in anguish about how man has acted,(and does act) that’s why he made the 10 commandments. Also why there will be a second coming of Christ. And no I don’t think Christians are more likely to commit crimes, There are people who say they may be religious under a disguise and really aren’t. The Most horrific crimes committed in history I guarantee are done by those who don’t have god in their lives, they’re evil and the work of satan. As far as diseases go if anything I think our own government have to do with a lot( maybe not all, but a lot) of “illnesses” and “diseases”, they’re man- made and they even have cures for them. And I’m not sinless, I’m human, but at least I try to be a better person. Nobody’s born sinless or perfect, but if you face your sins, asked to be forgived, and Repent,..God will forgive you. but he sees whats in your heart and soul and he knows who means it, and who doesn’t. You can’t even have an open discussion without resorting to name calling, degrading, and hurting people, what’s that say about you atheist…

  10. Allelse2
    March 5, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    I think you should just belittle and demoralize people that don’t believe in what you do, until they change their minds and see your ways. Works every time. Yes, I am being sarcastic. This is an epidemic and habit of many people and it never works. It only shuts down the doors of communication.

    • March 5, 2015 at 10:04 PM

      Psychological research would beg to differ. Belittling by one’s peers is the most effective method of changing minds, bar none. Science, mothafuckas!

  11. james
    April 13, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    This article was hilarious, I can’t believe people like this live in our society. No wonder why the world is going down the drain. The world is progressively is become worse and people like this ignorantly endorse this. People are devolving, moving backwards.
    How can a society function with people like this, no respect, no tolerance, no wisdom. Stupidity is taking over won’t be long till the world takes a turn for the worst. Thank this guy who wrote the article and anyone else who agrees with him

    • April 21, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      Yes, the reason the world is going down the drain is because of rude atheists calling Christians out on their bullshit. It’s not the religious people standing in the way of gay rights. It’s not the religious people standing in the way of scientific advancement. It’s not the religious people standing in the way of women’s rights. It’s not the religious people cutting people’s heads off for believing in the wrong space wizard. It’s not the religious people actively undermining education. It’s not the religious people counting on god to fix global warming.

      It’s the atheists who call them the antiquated fuck ups that they actually are. That’s the real problem.

      • OneLove
        April 23, 2015 at 4:23 PM

        God did not creat religion. God created man. Man created religion.

      • April 23, 2015 at 7:32 PM

        Okay, but even if I accept your nonsensical premise, if god is omnipotent, he created man knowing that they would create religion. He also could have corrected them. He also could have created them in such a way that they wouldn’t create religion.

        Still his fault, but luckily he has an excuse: Figments of imagination aren’t legally culpable for anything they do.

    • Bob
      April 23, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      You are the one who is stupid.

      • April 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM

        Now there’s the kind of intellectual rigor I’ve come to expect from theists. I’ll have to talk to a shrink about the emotional damage your biting and clever insult has wrought. Hopefully I’ll recover.

  12. Bill
    May 6, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Let’s see now. The alternative to religion of theism is the religion of believing in evolution and that we created ourselves. Now that sets real nicely with rational thought and empirical evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. I feel so much better to know that atheist have all the answers to life questions and that they are so talented in belittling other people for their beliefs. I sure will sleep better tonight after visiting this wonderfully enlightening website of knowledge and wisdom. And to think I believed that silly ole book called the Bible. Ha, one visit to the website and I’m ready to throw it ALL out the window and embrace atheism.

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